This painting is called “Oracle.” I’m embarking on a totally new artistic adventure: translating my artwork into digital painting. For a long time, I’ve wanted to invest in a new tablet, and get painting again. I recently got a new Intuos Pro, and have gone absolutely wild since.
It’s been a long time since I’ve worked like this. I’m not sure I really remember how, and on top of that, my style has grown and changed so much since 2008–when I finished my last digital painting.
I originally started this as an effort to learn faces, and to do some practicing. I began tracing this photo: (from this post)
Then I decided to have a little fun with it. It got out of control after that. I’m eager to start learning how to do this again.
The black and white line art for this image will be available in the coloring book that I’m releasing later in the year. (Stay tuned.)
Rebekkah Before Nkros
This is my best and most recent painting. It is a portrait of Rebekkah, a character who appeared out of nowhere after I returned from Ghana. She had a short story to accompany her, which I wanted to also turn into a novel, but it never came to fruition. Instead, just like the Swordwife, she is staring at me and demanding that I write her story. This was the last of my images done on my HP desktop, before I upgraded to a Macbook and lost painting capability. She was made using a picture of a small child from Nzuelezo, Ghana. A very helpful paintover by someone on GG Talk also made this image starkly better than my previous ones.
September, 2008: Adobe Photoshop 7.0 with an Intuous 2 6×8 tablet.
View this image on DeviantART.
When I began sketching this, I was really looking at a way to make a statement through clothes. I wanted to use extravagant color schemes and an insane–if not garish–blend of traditional African textiles and old 19th century clothing. On top of it, I included odd and fantastical gold work, reminiscent of the old West African gold empires, where the legend of Sundiata comes from. It was an exercise in costuming more than anything else, but I was rather proud of her feet and hands, which turned out to be a little too small for her other proportions.
December 11, 2007. Photoshop 7 and an Intruos 2 6×8 tablet.
The Swordwife Unveiled
It took me several tries to get this image right, and there were many discarded paintings in my folder by the time I was finally able to say that this one was completed. I was spinning this tale around and around in my mind for months, and with it came the spinning of images, particularly this one, of a Swordwife, or the witch queens who guarded the desert kingdoms, who kept in their memory and magic the tales of battle.
There is a very elaborate legend that I spun to go along with this painting. Very simply, the swordwife was a character that was going to appear in my next major novel project, a tale of colonialism and vengeance in a fantasy world. In it, the “northerners” arrived to conquer the desert people, but were consistently deterred for unknown, often stupid reasons. Communications would fail. Guns would refuse to fire. Until, one day, the teenage son of the military captain did what no one else had imagined: he shot and killed one of the women who carried the banners behind the “savages” army.
And when he did so, he unleashed her soul, which ransacked and pillaged everything in sight, consuming enemy and companion alike while screeching retribution.
The novel has not yet come to be, but someday I know I will put it together. Until then, this woman stares at me.
April 17 , 2007, Adobe Photoshop 7, Intuous 2 6×8
This image was the second place winner of Hamline University’s Annual “Mamadada” Art Contest. A print can be viewed at the Hamline University Bush Library.
This portrait was the first image I did without an sketch to back it up. I went directly to the tutorials at Furaie by Linda Bergkvist and I started painting. Persephone is a favorite character from a novel that I just revived about an assassination plot. In the novel, she is the “wild one”, who is more than just a little insane, and more than just a little intelligent.
Angel was still and Persephone was in constant, agitated motion, out of reach and on her toes. Her blue eyes jumped from thing to thing, and her hands continually wandered in unfinished gestures. Words tended to pour haphazardly from her mouth, as if she could not control the questions that ripped her heart to shreds. It was Angel’s still, deadly calculations that kept her in check—Persephone, the raving wild ocean—only Angel. None of the others had any control over our mad philosopher. Angel was her stone, her still rock in the center of the raging river, to which Persephone’s detached and anxious philosophy clung without fail.
February 7, 2007: Adobe Photoshop 7, Intuous 2 6×8, Brushes by Vered
View this image at the CG Society
This sketch actually dated back much farther than its painting does. I believe I first imagined this concept in 2004 with the other Ophelia paintings, but it took considerable time and rethinking to make this image work. Again, Ophelia is a character from a short story (who also mirrors a character in a novel project) who befriends and eventually is enthroned by the dead. Ophelia’s father, the king Narudas, conquered the neighboring jungle kingdom of Ranja by dishonorable means–he poisoned them with a plague. When he moves his capital to Ranja, strange things start happening, one of them being his daughter’s odd connection to the dead.
September 15, 2006: Adobe Photoshop 7.0, Intuous 2 6×8, Brushes by Vered
View Image at the CG Society
Portrait of Abigael
Still on a Serpent of Souls kick, I painted this portrait of Abigael to really work on a face–and a distinguished face at that. In the story, Abigael is the young princess–the youngest and only daughter of the King’s first wife and Queen, Phaedria. She plays games with secrets and enjoys extravagant gossip, but her intelligence is good for more than just palace gossip, as she soon finds out.
May 4, 2006, Adobe Photoshop 7, Intuous 2 6×8
View Image at the CG Society